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Jolly Old Saint Nick is a busy guy in and around the Valley

Keep your eyes peeled for the cheery man dressed in red

Santa Express. Santa visits with children young and old on Conway Scenic Railroad’s Santa’s Holiday Express, which runs twice a day on the weekends before Christmas. No reservations are needed, stop by at the historic train station in the heart of North Conway for tickets. Conway Scenic Railroad Photo. (click for larger version)
December 10, 2009
This weekend, Santa Claus will greet Polar Express riders at the North Pole; ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad with Santa's Holiday Express passengers; stop by the Annual Children's Christmas Party at the South Effingham Church; visit with folks at the holiday open house at the Conway Area Humane Society; and spend the daylight hours at Santa's Village in Jefferson.

He is one amazing fellow. Not only does he have the awesome ability to deliver presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve, but, as you can see from the above, he's a pretty busy guy in the weeks leading up to his annual trip of circumventing the globe. With all the personal appearances he puts in, and the quality time he spends with children at those appearances, he truly must have magical powers. We can only guess that, though it seems he can sometimes be at two places at once, he has the rare gift of being able to manipulate Time itself.

What else could explain could explain how he gets all those presents delivered in one single night?

Santa Claus has already made numerous appearances in Mount Washington Valley. This past Saturday he spent the early afternoon at Settlers'

Green in North Conway helping visitors and locals alike onto his horse-drawn wagon, then hopping aboard with them for a ride around the outlet village. Later in the day he happily greeted festive attendees at the Conway Village Parade and tree lighting ceremony.

Santa Claus' premier Christmas season appearance in Mount Washington Valley is at the North Pole, which children young and old can get to by taking a ride on the Polar Express. During the yuletide season the Conway Scenic Railroad train, through special arrangements with the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation, travels from the Victorian train station in North Conway through the northern woods to the North Pole for a special visit with Jolly Old Saint Nick. The tickets for this popular event, which is based on Chris Van Allsburg's classic, "The Polar Express," are obtained through a lottery conducted in October of each year by Believe in Books. Though some lodging properties might have Polar Express packages still available, your best bet is to plan for next year. For more information go to www.believein books.org.

You don't have to wait until next year to take your little ones on a train ride with Santa. Before his night time appearances with the Polar Express, Santa Claus visits with Conway Scenic Railroad train riders on Santa's Holiday Express train. No reservations are needed — just come into the station for tickets.

Jerry Allain of the Conway Scenic Railroad reports that Santa goes from one end of the train to the other, visiting with each and every child and giving each a little pre-Christmas gift. "He certainly is good to the kids, no wonder they believe in him!" says Jerry, who gets to talk with Santa in between the twice-daily weekend runs. The Holiday Express runs on Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20, with a 1 1/2-hour trip to Bartlett and back at 11:30 a.m. and an hour trip to Conway and back at 1:30 p.m. For more details go to www.conwayscenic.com or call 356-5251.

For a full day of Christ-mas fun, take a trip up north to Santa's Village in Jefferson. Not only will children get to visit with Santa Claus, but with Mrs. Claus as well. Amazingly, most of the rides that are open in the summer at Santa's Village, such as the Christmas Carousel, the Skyway Sleigh Monorail, and the Merry Christmas Ferris Wheel, are open on these December weekend days, too. Dress warmly, be in your best holiday cheer, and give your children or grandchildren a day to remember. Dates and times of operation are posted at the Village's website at www.santasvillage.com.

For those folks too big to fit on Santa Claus' lap, there are plenty of holiday events taking place around Mount Washington Valley. Between holiday concerts and Christmas craft fairs, there's more than enough to keep young and old in the holiday spirit. Visit our calendar section in The Mountain Ear for a listing of all the holiday doings.

And when you see Santa, give him a big hello. We're all still little kids in his merry eyes!

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